By Genny Upton from In Lieu of Preschool
Bubbles! Who doesn’t love bubbles!?! We certainly love them at our house, but with the weather getting colder by the day, blowing bubbles outside is NOT at the top of my to-do list! An easy solution we’ve found to beat the cold is to blow bubbles indoors! It’s not very messy because we blow the bubbles on a table top. They are quite spectacular to see and kids as young as 2 or 3 can participate!
We first tried the Mad Bubble Scientist activity printed on the Action Card we picked up from Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh, NC about two months ago. We made our own basic bubble solution per the recipe and had a blast blowing bubbles on the table! We were able to blow really huge bubbles and then play with them in ways like sticking a straw or our finger into them without popping the bubble, blowing bubble colonies, and even blowing bubbles inside of bubbles. The Action Card suggested some further experimentation ideas, but we didn’t try any of those suggestions…until today!
The new bubble experimenting we did was even more fun than the first!! The basic plan was to make the same bubble solution we used before, but alter it by adding additional ingredients. We wanted to know if the additions would affect the bubbles, and, if so, how.
To set up, I started off by boxing off the kids’ art table into 6 sections using masking tape. I labeled each section with what was going to be in it – regular bubble solution, honey, salt, food coloring, vegetable oil, and sugar. Next the kids helped to mix up the basic bubble solution in the kitchen by whisking together 1 cup of water and ¼ cup of dishwashing liquid.
We divided the basic bubble solution evenly into 6 disposable cups which I labeled with a marker – regular, honey, salt, food coloring, vegetable oil, and sugar. The recipe on the Action Card called for 2 Tablespoons of each addition to be added to the basic solution, but since we divided our recipe into 6 cups, we used only 1 teaspoon of each addition per cup. To the regular cup we added nothing. To the honey, salt, food coloring, vegetable oil, and sugar cups we added 1 teaspoon of the listed ingredient. I stirred them until everything was dissolved, and then placed the cups into the properly labeled box on the kids’ table, along with a plastic straw. I used a medicine dropper to take a little of each solution and puddle it on the table in the box it belonged.
Then the kids and I dipped the ends of our straws into the cups, placed the dipped end into the little puddle on the table, and blew gently to create bubbles right on the table top. We had a lot of fun trying and comparing all the different bubble solutions.
In the end, my two preschool-aged children made some pretty interesting scientific observations. Lilah, 3, said her favorite was the honey because it blew the biggest bubbles without popping. Luke, 4, said he really liked them all, but the food coloring was his most favorite because he really liked the green bubbles. And we all noticed it was really hard to blow bubbles with the salt solution.
The Mad Bubble Scientist experiment is really such an easy activity to set up and you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen already. It’s also simple to clean up; just be sure your table/surface is non-porous, especially when it comes to the food coloring. If in doubt, always test it first yourself. Everything we used wiped right off when we were finished experimenting!
Hands-on science is so great for kids and it can start with something as simple as dish detergent, water, and a straw!! The next time it’s too cold or rainy to go out, stay in and blow some amazing bubbles!!
Genny Upton is a former elementary and reading teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. She writes the blog, In Lieu of Preschool, where she shares activities she does with her kids at home instead of sending them to preschool. She regularly posts arts and crafts, early learning activities, free printables, posts on parenting, as well as reviews and recommendations for products, books, and curriculum. You can connect with In Lieu of Preschool via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (), or Google+.